Take a deep breath. This is going to go great.
If you are running a business with a bunch of clients, we’re going to walk through how to tell them that you’re pregnant.
And… that you’ll be taking a few weeks off.
Let’s break down the top three things that can help you with this conversation.
First, make sure you have a plan for their project.
If you are in the middle of a project with a client, say, launching a website or a new series of brand elements, we need to make sure that we have a plan for their project.
If you go out on maternity leave in six weeks and they have nine weeks left in the project, let them know how you plan to front-end your part of the project prior to going out.
Thinking this part through is hugely helpful for them to feel confident that you are delivering on your end of the contract.
When I was pregnant with my first son, I had no idea how to break the news to clients. I wasn’t sure if they wouldn’t want to do business with me if I was going to be having a baby shortly after we inked our deal.
The short reassuring thing I wish I had told myself is: it’s all going to be ok.
Clients will understand as long as we take care of a few simple things prior to leaving.
Next, make sure we have a new point of contact for them.
If you are the client manager, project manager and lead designer. There are lots of things to prep prior to going out on maternity leave.
Snag my ultimate planning guide to dive a little deeper.
In the meantime, we need to make sure that your clients know who to contact in your absence should they need anything.
Try to host a call between the client and your replacement prior to going out on leave. It’ll help your team member get acclimated to being on client calls, answering questions and dealing directly with customers.
Often when we place account managers or ‘front of house’ employees in positions to care for our clients, our relationships get stronger and retention increases.
In the last five years I have seen digital agencies thrive with this kind of structure.
Hopefully maternity leave is a nice trial run and you won’t have to be involved with much client communication upon return.
Finally, tell them how you anticipate managing things from afar.
If you are checking in with your team while you’re out on leave, let your clients know that your team will be in touch with you and they are still getting your guidance on the project.
When I was on my second maternity leave with my son John, I would set up weekly meetings with my team to check the pulse of things.
To be clear, I wasn’t opening my email and responding to inquiries. I was simply getting the broad strokes from my team and the list of pressing questions (which were few) that they needed answers to.
Mostly I would join with my camera off, sometimes from my phone and just answer things for about 10-15 minutes.
The client won’t have direct access to you, but it does give them peace of mind to know that someone on the team will be connecting with you about project status and strategy.
Overall it’s your decision when you tell your clients you are pregnant.
My best advise is to give them at least 3 weeks notice so that you can accurately roll out a replacement person for them to communicate with.
The best remedy for this is to get solid procedures in place and work yourself out of the nucleus of your projects and client communication.
To learn more, head to mastermaternityleave.com